Scoil Náisiúnta Réalt na Mara Réalt na Mara National School

Mill street, Dundalk, Co Louth, A91 TD3H
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(042) 9327230
Principal: Mr Phil McCaul

Realt Na Mara National School Front photo

Code of Behavior

Each person through positive learning experiences will be stimulated to achieve his/her potential, face life confidently, find fulfilment and be respectful in an ever- changing world.

The aims of the Code of Behaviour of Réalt na Mara School are:

  • To provide guidance for pupils, teachers and parents on behavioural expectations in order to ensure the effective and safe operation of the school.
  • To create a caring, ordered environment based on respect, consideration and tolerance, where each child can feel secure and confident. 
  • To develop pupils’ self-esteem and to promote positive behaviour.
  • To facilitate the education and development of every child.
  • To foster caring attitudes to one another and to the environment.


We believe that a high standard of behaviour requires a strong sense of community within the school and a high level of co-operation among staff and between staff, parents and pupils.

Rules will be kept to a minimum, emphasise positive behaviour and will be applied in a fair and consistent manner, with due regard to the age of the pupils and to individual difference.

Good behaviour will be encouraged and rewarded.  Positive reinforcement of good behaviour leads to better self-discipline and we place a greater emphasis on rewards and incentives than on sanctions.

Where difficulties arise, parents will be contacted at an early stage.  Parent – teacher meetings are held annually.  Parents are most welcome to contact the class teacher or principal regarding any concerns they may have about their child.  However, because of the necessity of supervision, it is required to make an appointment for a mutually suitable time.

Strategies to promote Positive Behaviour

  • Ensuring that pupils are treated fairly, equally, consistently and firmly.
  • Matching work with pupil’s abilities. A prize/reward carefully noted by the teacher to ensure that all children at regular stages during the school year are rewarded for effort/behaviour/skill etc. Teachers creating moments of success and then acknowledging them.
  • Each month at assembly we present Merit Awards to three pupils in each class who have done their best to behave well; made the most effort at school; and/or were kind, honest, and helpful to their teachers and fellow pupils. Children’s photographs are proudly and prominently displayed in the foyer for the next month.
  • Reward charts are prominently displayed in each classroom.
  • A quiet word or gesture to show approval.
  • A word of praise in front of a group or class.
  • A comment in a pupil’s exercise book.
  • A mention to a parent – written or verbal.
  • A visit to another member of staff or the Principal for commendation.
  • Delegating some responsibility or privilege.
  • Teacher records improvement in the behaviour of a disruptive pupil.
  • Implementation of Programmes such as Circle Time to promote positive behaviour.

The above list is not comprehensive and consists of examples only.

Show Respect – Expect Respect

Golden Rules:

Be gentleDon't hurt anyone
Be kind and helpfulDont hurt people's feelings
Be honestDon't cover up the truth
Work hardDon't waste time
Look after propertyDon't waste or damage things or take things that don't belong to you
Listen to peopleDon't interrupt

School Rules

Our school rules have been designed to reflect the Christian values of respect for self and others, kindness and helpfulness to others, courtesy, good manners, fairness and forgiveness, and are based on the three strands of the Social, Personal and Health (SPHE) Curriculum: Myself, Myself and Others, Myself and the Wider World.

It is imperative that adults ‘practise what they preach’ in their interaction with children every day. The School Rules listed below provide clear guidelines for all members of the school community.

  • Be on time for school and leave school promptly when school finishes.
  • Pupils are expected to attend every day unless there is a genuine reason for absence, in which case the school must be informed in writing by completing the absence slips in the centre of the school diary, stating the reason for absence. Absences of 20 days or more must be reported to the Education Welfare Officer under Rule 21(4b) of the Educational Welfare Act 2000.
  • Enter and leave the school building at all times in an orderly fashion.
  • In the interest of safety pupils must walk within the school building and silence/quietness is expected while children are getting ready to enter/exit class and the building.
  • Pupils are expected to treat all staff members, themselves and each other with due respect and courtesy. Pupils are taught to stand back for an adult, to welcome visitors and to show respect for their elders.
  • Bullying is never allowed. Any behaviour that interferes with the rights of others to learn and to be safe is unacceptable.  Bullying is repeated verbal, psychological or physical aggression by an individual or group against others. The most common forms of bullying are aggressive physical contact, name-calling, intimidation, extortion, isolation and taunting. Bullying will not be tolerated and parents will be expected to cooperate with the school at all times in dealing with instances of bullying in accordance with the school’s Anti-Bullying Policy.
  • Bad language is unacceptable. Inappropriate language if used towards a teacher or anywhere within the school is considered a serious breach of the code.
  • We encourage pupils to show respect for the school and be proud to wear the complete school uniform/tracksuit (as appropriate) every day.
  • We request that boys do not wear earrings.
  • Name all belongings.
  • Look after personal hygiene.
  • Chewing gum, fizzy drinks, drink cans, crisps, glass bottles, correction fluids, other solvents such as nail varnish, matches, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs are not allowed.
  • Cycling in school grounds is not permitted.
  • We encourage children to bring healthy lunches.
  • We prefer that pupils do not take mobile phones or other electronic devices into school.  Where a pupil brings a mobile phone to school, the phone must be kept out of sight, switched off, and may only be used in an emergency with the prior permission of a member of staff. (See Mobile Phone Policy)
  • We encourage hairstyles to be kept neat and conventional – extreme hairstyles are not acceptable. For hygiene purposes, we recommend that long hair be tied back.
  • Pupils must respect the school building and property and the property of other pupils. If any deliberate damage is caused, the parent/guardian will be responsible for the cost of repair/replacement.

School Environment:

We pride ourselves on retaining and flying the School’s Green Flag denoting an environmentally friendly policy.

  • Pupils are expected to value our school environment and to care for it. The playground is a litter-free zone.
  • To protect the environment, the school is involved in various projects:

Composting: Fruit peelings and cores are collected for the purpose of composting.  Any other unfinished food should be taken home.

Recycling: Waste paper and cardboard are collected for recycling.  All other empty cartons, drink containers and wrapping papers are considered household waste and are taken home.

Behaviour in Class and in School Building:

  • Pupils must behave well in class by not disrupting class work or causing unnecessary disturbance so that the teacher can teach and pupils can learn.
  • It is school policy that every pupil listens to the class teacher, works hard; makes the best use of their time in school, completes their homework and embraces the school motto “to be the best you can”.

Behaviour in the Playground:

  • All pupils have a right to enjoy their time out in the playground in a safe environment at break periods.
  • Misdemeanour consists of any action that puts the safety of self or others at risk.
  • Fighting, rough play or any physical force is never allowed or tolerated.
  • In the interests of safety, climbing on the school fences, walls, railings or trees is not permitted.
  • When the bell rings during playtime the children stop playing and move to their class lines.
  • Children do not enter the school building without getting permission from teachers or Special Needs Assistants.

Wet days:

  • Children do activities in class based on the class teacher’s instructions or supervising teacher’s instructions i.e. watch DVD, play board games, make jigsaws, do puzzles, draw.
  • Children are expected to remain seated.

Swimming days:

  • Every child must wear a coat when walking to the swimming pool except on dry, sunny days during May and June.
  • Every pupil listens to and obeys the class teacher.
  • Children walk in line behind the teacher to the swimming pool. No running allowed.
  • No shouting or playing in dressing rooms.
  • Every pupil listens to and obeys the instructor and lifeguard.
  • No running around pool area.
  • Swimming caps are required and shower socks and goggles may be worn.
  • Girls are required to wear a one-piece swimsuit.
  • Children do not leave the pool without permission from the instructor or teacher.
  • No jumping into the pool from the side – unless under the instructor’s directions.
  • No pushing or rough play in the pool.
  • Children are expected to dress quickly after each session.
  • Hairsprays/gels/spray deodorants are not allowed. Roll-on deodorants are allowed for 4th – 6th class pupils. Shampoo is allowed.
  • No drinks/sweets are bought from the vending machine.
  • Pupils are strictly forbidden to bring Mobile phones to swimming lessons.
  • In the interests of safety, pupils are advised that if they do not follow these guidelines, they will not be allowed to continue with swimming lessons.  Swimming pool fees cannot be refunded.

Tour Rules:

  • Represent the school in a positive manner on all school outings.
  • Pupils’ enter/leave the bus in an orderly manner.
  • Pupils are expected to arrive 15 minutes before departure time. Parents are expected to contact the school 15 minutes before departure time if their child is sick or unable to attend.
  • School Rules apply to school tours.
  • Mobile phones and electronic devices are banned on school tours. Teachers will have mobile phones on tour if parents/ children need to get in contact with one another.
  • Pupils must sit in their own seat on the bus, wear their seat belt and avoid loudness that would distract the driver.
  • Pupils are encouraged to take food and drinks at the appointed lunch breaks.
  • Pupils stay in their appointed groups at all times.
  • Unless otherwise instructed, pupils wear uniform on school tours.
  • Parental/Guardian permission slips allowing a) the child to go on tour and b) the teacher the right to authorize any medical or surgical procedure necessary are returned to the teacher prior to the tour.


Sanctions are used in a corrective way and are intended to help the child to change and improve his or her behavioural patterns. The nature of the misbehaviour and the age of the child will determine the strategy to be employed.

Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions to deal with Bullying:

Bullying is a serious misdemeanour and the sanctions applied are listed in our Anti - Bullying Policy.

Disciplinary Actions and Sanctions to deal with Misdemeanours

The degree of misdemeanours i.e. minor, serious or gross will be judged by the teachers and/or Principal based on a common sense approach with regard to the gravity/frequency of such misdemeanours.

Examples of Minor Misdemeanours:

Arriving late for school/ running in school building/ running or charging through the Infant yard/ pushing in the yard or when ‘in the line’/ not listening and speaking out of turn/ interrupting class work/ leaving seat without permission at break or lunch time/ placing unfinished food/drink cartons in bins/ leaving litter around school/ not wearing correct uniform/ being discourteous or unmannerly/ pushing in front of adults/ not completing homework without good reason/ not bringing school books or materials to school/  bringing fizzy drinks, drink cans, crisps, chewing gum, glass bottles, correction fluids or other solvents to school / wearing make – up/ belongings not named/ unsuitable hairstyles/ hair not tied back/ not bringing explanation notes for absences/ wearing unsuitable shoes/ cycling in school grounds.

Examples of steps to be taken by teachers when dealing with Minor Misdemeanours

  • The class teacher will normally deal with classroom misdemeanours.
  • Verbal reprimand and reasoning with the pupil, including advice on how to improve; setting realistic targets.
  • Time out from friends and others (to reflect on the misbehaviour).
  • Loss of privileges such as ‘Golden Time’, Treat Time, Game time, extra recreation time etc.
  • Note in homework journal or other to parents.

Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with REPEATED occurrences of Minor Misdemeanours:

  • A record is kept of regular instances of misdemeanour.
  • Following three instances of misdemeanour the pupil is sent to Principal/Deputy Principal.
  • Class teacher meets with parent(s)/guardian. Communicating with parents sooner rather than later.
  • Principal/Deputy Principal meet with parent(s)/guardian concerning the behaviour.

Examples of Serious Misdemeanours:

Constantly disruptive in class/ telling lies/ stealing/ damaging or interfering with another person’s property/ back answering a teacher, Special Needs Assistant or any other member of staff/ defying a teacher/ leaving school premises during school day without appropriate permission/ using or writing unacceptable language/ bullying/ name calling/ deliberately excluding another child/ deliberately injuring a fellow pupil/ behaviour which makes others feel unsafe / deliberately injuring a fellow pupil or partaking in any activity which would put themselves or others in danger/ deliberately leaving taps on/ misuse of fire equipment/ not following the school policy on mobile phones / repeated incidences of minor misbehaviour.

Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with Serious Misdemeanours:

  • A record will be kept of all serious misdemeanours.
  • Pupils may be removed from an activity if endangering self or others.
  • The child will write an account of what they have done. They may receive detention (supervised) with written work. Temporary separation from peers, friends and others may also occur.
  • Pupil is sent to Principal/ Deputy Principal.
  • Principal/Deputy Principal contacts parent/guardian.
  • Suspension procedure may follow if deemed necessary by the school authorities.

Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with REPEATED occurrences of Serious Misdemeanours:

  • Suspension procedure may follow if deemed necessary by the school authorities.

Examples of Gross Misdemeanours:

Deliberately vandalizing school property/ aggressive, insulting, threatening or violent behaviour towards any person/ bringing alcohol, drugs, cigarettes or matches to school.

Examples of steps to be taken when dealing with Gross Misdemeanours:

  • A record will be kept.
  • Principal or Deputy Principal contacts parent(s)/guardian immediately and parents will be called to meet the principal in the school to discuss the incident.
  • While waiting for the parents’ presence in the school or while the discussion is taking place, the child may be removed from class and placed in another classroom with written work to do. The child writes an account of what happened and how they will behave in the future.
  • A record is kept of the incident.
  • Suspension or expulsion may be considered

Procedure for Suspension/Expulsion:

Before serious sanctions such as detention, suspension or expulsion are used, the normal channels of communication between school and parents will be utilised.  Communication with parents may be verbal or by letter depending on the circumstances.

For gross misbehaviour or repeated instances of serious misbehaviour suspension may be considered. Parents concerned will be invited to come to the school to discuss their child’s case.

Where there are repeated instances of serious misbehaviour, the Chairperson of the Board of Management will be informed and the parents will be requested in writing to attend at the school to meet the Chairperson and the principal.  If the parents do not give an undertaking that the pupil will behave in an acceptable manner in the future the pupil may be suspended for a period.  Prior to suspension, where possible, the Principal may review the case in consultation with teachers and other members of the school community involved, with due regard to records of previous misbehaviours, their pattern and context, sanctions and other interventions used and their outcomes and any relevant medical information. Suspension will be in accordance with the Rules for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.


In the case of gross misbehaviour, where it is necessary to ensure that order and discipline are maintained and to secure the safety of the pupils, the Board may authorise the Chairperson or Principal to sanction an immediate suspension for a period not exceeding three school days, pending a discussion of the matter with the parents.


Expulsion may be considered in an extreme case, in accordance with the Rule for National Schools and the Education Welfare Act 2000.  Before suspending or expelling a pupil, the Board shall notify the Local Welfare Education Officer in writing in accordance with Section 24 of the Education Welfare Act.


Removal of Suspension (Reinstatement)

Following or during a period of suspension, the parent/s may apply to have the pupil reinstated to the school. The parent/s must give a satisfactory undertaking that a suspended pupil will behave in accordance with the school code and the Principal must be satisfied that the pupil’s reinstatement will not constitute a risk to the pupil’s own safety or that of the other pupils or staff. The Principal will facilitate the preparation of a behaviour plan for the pupil if required and will re-admit the pupil formally to the class.


Before/After School

Parents are reminded that the staff of the school does not accept responsibility for pupils before the official opening time of 9.05a.m. or after the official closing time of 1.45p.m. (Infants) 2.45p.m. (other classes), except where pupils are engaged in an extra-curricular activity organised by the school and approved by the Board of Management. Pupils involved in such activities are expected to behave in accordance with school behaviour policy during these times.  (From September 2010, opening and closing times are 15 minutes earlier.)


Board of Management’s Responsibilities

  • Provide a comfortable, safe environment.
  • Support the Principal and staff in implementing the code.
  • Ratify the code.


Principal’s Responsibilities

  • Promote a positive climate in the school.
  • Ensure that the Code of Behaviour is implemented in a fair and

consistent manner.

  • Arrange for review of the Code, as required.


Teachers’ Responsibilities
Support and implement the school’s code of behaviour.

  • Create a safe working environment for each pupil.
  • Recognise and affirm good work.
  • Prepare schoolwork and correct work done by pupils.
  • Recognise and provide for individual talents and differences among pupils.
  • Be courteous, consistent and fair.
  • Keep opportunities for disruptive behaviour to a minimum.
  • Deal appropriately with misbehaviour.
  • Keep a record of instances of serious misbehaviour or repeated instances of misbehaviour.
  • Provide support for colleagues.
  • Communicate with parents when necessary and provide reports on matters of mutual concern.


Pupils’ Responsibilities

  • Follow school and class rules.

Parents/Guardians’ Responsibilities
Encourage children to have a sense of respect for themselves and for property.

  • Ensure that children attend regularly and punctually.
  • Be interested in, support and encourage their children’s schoolwork.
  • Be familiar with the code of behaviour and support its implementation.
  • Co-operate with teachers in instances where their child’s behaviour is causing difficulties for others.
  • Communicate with the school in relation to any problems which may affect child’s progress/behaviour.


Success Criteria: (by which the policy will be judged)

  • Atmosphere of discipline within the school.
  • Children are aware of school rules.
  • Staff applies school rules.
  • Growth in self-discipline.
  • Co-operation between parents, teachers and pupils in maintaining the code.
  • Comments or compliments on behaviour.
  • Children working to the best of their ability.
  • Class working to the best of their ability.
  • Improvements in behaviour


Monitoring and Review:

Each staff member is responsible for the implementation of the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying Policy. Within the classroom the teacher monitors his/her class. Teachers consider themselves responsible for the behaviour of children within sight or sound of them and respond to any instance of unacceptable behaviour. The principal is responsible for monitoring and reviewing Policy at staff level on a regular basis and reports any review the staff deem necessary to the Board of Management.


The Board of Management (BOM) has ultimate responsibility for discipline in the school under its management and a duty to ensure that a fair code of discipline applies therein. The BOM will ensure the Code of Behaviour and Anti-Bullying policy is reviewed yearly or more often if the need arises.


In registering children in Réalt na Mara School parents are expected to support teachers in following the policies and procedures of the school. A copy of all policies and procedures is available for view by all parents.  Policies may be viewed on the school website.  Parents are informed at the start of every school year that they may receive a copy of all policies and procedures if they so wish.